Most Effective Weight Loss StrategyPosted: Jul 29 in Weight loss, Weight Management Strategies by Dr. Lazarus
What is the Most Effective Weight Loss Strategy?
When it comes to losing weight, there are a myriad of options – eat this not that, eat sometimes not others, don’t eat carbs, exercise more, take medication, use meal replacements… The list seems endless, and every day there is something new.
But according to the best scientific evidence, is there a single (non-surgical) strategy that works best?
Believe it or not, the answer is “Yes!”
And the answer is simple. It’s not a particular kind of diet, a specific exercise routine, or a magic herb that only grows on the base of icebergs in Peru. It is not a prescription medication, a meditation routine, or a fancy gadget you can buy online for 3 easy payments of $19.99. It’s not a food supplement made from green tea or cranberries. And it’s not in a bottle that says “Fat burner!” It’s not found in a book, and you won’t get there by watching YouTube videos. And, it’s not an app for your phone.
So what is it?
The most effective treatment for weight loss is intensive behavioral therapy (IBT). At Clinical Nutrition Center in Greenwood Village, Colorado, we accomplish this through office visits with trained professionals.
Countless studies have shown the effectiveness of interpersonal visits. They were found to be effective in the Look Ahead study (where IBT was used as a treatment for type 2 diabetes). In fact, the evidence is so strong that the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends IBT, both for adults and kids, as the best treatment for obesity.
Why is this? Well, think about something else you want to do that is hard – consider if you wanted to learn the piano. A YouTube video or phone app won’t get you very far. Nor will reading the latest New York Times best seller on how to become a concert pianist. Buying a priceless Steinway will be equally unfruitful. The best approach for most people is to find a teacher you like, and take lessons every week! Once accomplished as a pianist, you may go every couple of weeks, or even monthly. A good teacher individualizes your teaching and helps keep you motivated, even through a very challenging piece.
Weight loss is no different – losing weight (and in particular, keeping weight off) is hard, and having a properly trained “teacher” is imperative. Having somebody to support you when the going gets tough, somebody that gets to know you and individualizes your plan with you – this is the secret sauce to successful weight loss!
However, unlike learning the piano, the body develops a significant resistance to weight loss as time goes on (“metabolic adaptation”) both through lowering the body’s metabolism and through increasing appetite and reducing satiety. This makes sustaining weight loss significantly more difficult than losing the weight in the first place. Most people think that losing is hard and maintaining is easy – but this very far from the truth.
As a chronic health problem, obesity can get better with treatment, but relapses are common and should be expected. Like other chronic conditions (such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure), when the condition gets worse, it again becomes necessary to increase treatment intensity. What is the best way to do this? To increase the number of support visits, until the weight is back under control again.
In addition, when it comes to maintaining weight loss, this is where the prescription weight loss medications are extremely effective.
All to often, our patients tell us “I don’t need to see the Registered Dietitian – I know what to do.” Oftentimes, these are the patients that are not achieving their weight loss goals. On the other hand, most of our patients that have achieved and sustained their weight loss goals tell me the same thing – “The most important piece was the accountability and support system.”
I hope this helps you build motivation to get to and sustain your healthiest weight! And, if you’d like to continue on your journey, give us a call at (303) 750-9454. If it’s been awhile since you’ve been in, you are always welcome! We can pick right back up where we left off. Thank you and best wishes.